Primary products and food
Agrarmarkt Austria (AMA) Quality Seal Guidelines – Milk and milk products
The AMA Quality Seal Guidelines describe a voluntary quality assurance system for agricultural primary production and processing, and regulate essential production, labelling and documentation steps and measures for ensuring high levels of hygiene. The guidelines are broken down into production regulations for primary production and production regulations for processing.
Food bearing the AMA quality seal has to comply with the legal provisions, the relevant guidelines related to the product laid down in the Austrian Food Code (an objective description of consumer expectations) and the specific criteria set out in the relevant AMA Quality Seal Guidelines. In addition to ‘good manufacturing practice’ and consumer health protection measures (e.g. HAACP), the AMA quality seal also lays down specific hygiene requirements in order to ensure increased levels of hygiene in products and production facilities. Since animal protection is an absolute prerequisite for ensuring high food quality, the AMA Quality Seal Guidelines either stipulate particular criteria or at least require compliance with animal protection regulations to be regularly monitored. Food may not contain, consist of or be produced from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or contain ingredients produced from GMOs, which are subject to mandatory labelling pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 1829/2003 on genetically modified food and feed. The traceability of the raw materials and food production (processing locations) will be ensured by appropriate batch labelling and documentation.
The origin of a foodstuff must also be labelled. The indication of origin is to be based on either a region, such as a province/federal state (e.g. Tyrol, Bavaria) or country (e.g. Austria, France), or a general area covering various states or countries (e.g. the Tauern region, the Alps, the EU). The region in which all processing steps take place and from which all the main raw materials of the product being labelled originate will be deemed the region of origin.
Compliance with the requirements of the AMA Quality Seal Guidelines is to be assessed using a three-stage monitoring system: self-checks carried out by the business itself, external checks by independent monitoring authorities/laboratories approved by AMA Marketing, and supervision of external checks, commissioned directly by AMA Marketing.
Participation in the AMA quality seal programme is voluntary. An agreement must be signed between the licensee (manufacturer or trader of processed products) and AMA Marketing. The agreement may only be entered into if the result of the initial inspection is positive.
The AMA Quality Seal Guidelines ‘Milk and Milk Products’ contain general production requirements, which relate in particular to inspection and documentation as well as good hygiene practice, and specific production requirements (product analyses, absence of palm oil, Listeria monitoring, microbiological and chemical or physical criteria).
Furthermore, there are additional modules in which the licensee can participate and which contain additional requirements to the basic ones.
Furthermore, there are additional modules in which companies can participate and which contain additional requirements to the basic ones.